Max Hewitt joined Formula Regional Americas Championship (FR Americas) this season after a three-year hiatus from racing. A seasoned shifter kart racer, Hewitt was the 2019 SKUSA Pro Tour Vice Champion and two-time Rotax “Team USA” karting representative, before enrolling at Baylor University to study Communications and Entrepreneurship. Hewitt spent the 2023 season balancing both his education and racing while driving the No. 39 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3. He recorded his career-best finish, fourth, in Round 12 at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Where are you from and what's your favorite thing about where you're from?
Max Hewitt (MH): “I'm from Houston, Texas. My favorite thing about where I’m from is that I'm close to the city and there's a lot of things to do there, but it can also be hard to spend time out in the city because it’s always so hot there, too. I guess it’s give and take.”
When and how did you decide that you wanted to race, and how did you get to FR Americas?
MH: “This all started back when I was four. My dad got me a kid kart for Christmas. Honestly, I was deathly afraid of the go-kart—he had to walk side by side with me to help me get comfortable. It was crazy.
“My brother actually played a big role in getting me to FR Americas. I've been begging my parents to get me to this next step ever since I became the vice champion in the SKUSA Pro Tour. Over and over, my parents said, ‘no, it's too expensive.’ When I went to college, I still didn’t give up on my dream; I tried to keep my senses sharp by staying on the simulator as much as possible. Then, my brother started to ask my parents if he could get into F4 U.S.—and I found out that they told him yes. So, I texted my dad and told him that I deserved it, and he finally agreed to get me the seat first.”
Who's your racing idol and what made you look up to him or her?
MH: “I would have to say Max Verstappen. I know he's probably one of the more controversial drivers to pick, but if you look at his career, he's been sharp ever since he was in go-karts—ever since he was driving the KZs. He's expected nothing less than first. He got straight in the Formula Regional—or the F3 Regional, back then—and immediately made an impression on Red Bull and Mercedes. It just goes to show that if you have the talent, you can be at the top. Obviously, I want to be just like him, if possible—if not even better.”
If you could only drive one racetrack for the rest of your life, which track would you want it to be?
MH: “Nordschleife. It's the longest track out there, so you get more bang for your buck right there.”
What about the one racetrack that you dream of racing on?
MH: “Spa. Spa-Francorchamps. That's probably my favorite track. It’s one of the more dangerous tracks on the F1 calendar, but it’s my favorite one to drive on the simulator. It's just so fast. Going through Eau Rouge and through Radeon is a little dangerous, but I really want to feel how compressed those G's make you feel. On TV, it looks so easy, but I know for a fact that it must feel insane going through that.”
Tell me about one race that sticks out to you—maybe it was your best race, or your favorite, or it just sticks with you for whatever reason.
MH: “The one that sticks out the most is probably the first time I had the chance of winning a Pro Tour race. It was in Phoenix, Ariz. I came from third and started to lead the race. In the middle of it, there was a sandstorm, and all of the sand warped straight into my air box. I could feel that I was starting to lose power, and second was starting to close in. On the last lap, my motor finally gave up on the last corner. I threw it into neutral and rolled through the finish line—I ended up crossing it in second. When I got into pit lane, it turned out that we were also half a pound underweight, so it was back-to-back negatives. But that gave me the drive I needed to keep fighting for more. Right after that, I came back and started winning more races.”